Farmland prices ‘expected to rise further this year’

A map showing the average price of good quality land in each county.

Farmland price growth is set to continue, with an average increase of 6% likely this year, according to a report by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).

In its major new survey, chartered surveyors, auctioneers and appraisers operating in the agricultural and rental markets say sales activity has been boosted by the release from Covid restrictions and they expect prices to continue to rise increase, supported by strong demand and a still low supply of land for sale.

The price of good land has shown the biggest increase in 2021 – a national average of 17%, from €9,381 to €10,962 per acre.

The price of all non-residential land, on holdings of less than 50 acres, also showed significant increases. In Leinster prices increased by 12%, in Munster they increased by 14%, while the increase in Connacht/Ulster was 5%.

In Westmeath, prices ranged from €6,140 per acre for poor quality land to €12,570 for good land. The €12,570 figure was up from €11,200 in 2020.

In Roscommon, meanwhile, good quality land sold for €9,167, while lesser quality land sold for €4,127.

Kildare was the most expensive county, with good quality land fetching an average of €15,350 per acre.

The 2022 SCSI/Teagasc Farmland Market Review and Outlook Report indicates that demand for leased land remains strong, with rents this year expected to increase by 10% nationwide.

Provincially, agents expect rents to rise by 12% in Leinster and 9% in Munster and Connacht/Ulster.

Last year Leinster recorded the highest rental growth figures, with rental prices for silage, pasture, potatoes and other crops rising by 18-29%.

The survey of 95 auctioneers and appraisers across the country was conducted in February and March 2022.

Dillon Murtagh of Murtagh Bros in Mullingar, a member of SCSI’s rural branch committee, said the lifting of pandemic restrictions had boosted sales activity and market confidence.

“In our survey, 53% of SCSI agents reported an increase in the volume of land sold compared to the previous year, while 24% said the volume of land sold remained the same.

“Furthermore, two-thirds of appraisers reported an increase in the percentage of land transfer appraisal requests. This is up from 43% in 2020. These are positive trends and show confidence in the market from sellers and buyers,” Murtag said.

He added that one of the consequences of the pandemic was that more people were now working from home and seeking a better work-life balance outside the main urban centres.

“It should be noted that residential farms under 50 acres cost about 20% more than non-residential farms of similar size,” he said.

Amalia H. Mercado